Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Classic Vanilla Buttercream

What could be better than a classic chocolate cupcake with creamy vanilla frosting? Its simplicity doesn't take away from how divine this cupcake is!

What I love to do is change the ingredients up a little bit, take things up a notch, if you will. Here, I have used dangerously rich dark cocoa powder to really give you that intense flavor. I am also a huge fan of using brown sugar where it it not normally used. I cut back on the white granulated sugar that one often times sees, and add a little bit more brown sugar. To me, that molasses love that brown sugar gives you is just what you need to change up a recipe!

Now, there's a little more to these cupcakes than just a twist on your classic cake. I made these for two of my favorite love birds who recently got engaged. Not only are they two of my most wonderful friends, but one will be my sister-in-law in just 16 short months!

So, how does one pick a dessert to match two people? If you know what you're working with, it's easy! Daniella and John are not only a match made in heaven, but they are classically wonderful with their own little quirky bits thrown in. Knowing them as long as I have known my beloved fiancé, they are already my family--which also means making fun of them (or just John) is something I have gotten quite good at (see below)! Traveling, eating, drinking (or shall I say bartending) and endless laughs, with these two, it's never dull!

Two things that are absolutely perfect in my mind? John and Daniella...oh and these glorious cupcakes! So much love and goodness, that's how this dessert was created!

Time to tie back your hair (...or man bun!), tuck the front of your shirt in, and get to baking!

cake ingredients

Flour—8 oz, or 1 ½ C

Sugar—6.3 oz, or ¾ C

Brown Sugar—2 oz, or ¼ C

Dark Cocoa Powder—1.75 oz, or ½ C

Baking Soda—0.2 oz, or 1 tsp

Salt—0.1 oz, or ½ tsp


Vanilla—0.15 oz, or 1 tsp

Canola Oil—3.5 oz, or ½ C

Cream—9 oz, or 1 C

Sour Cream—4.5 oz, or ½ C



Preheat your oven to 350˚F.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

Slowly add in the egg, vanilla and oil. Mix until combined.

Add in the cream. *Note: I used local chocolate milk in place of the cream! I really wanted this cake to be as rich and chocolaty as possible, therefore I substituted. You can just use regular cream, but adding a little extra goodness never hurt!*

Add in sour cream.

Once all of the ingredients have been added and incorporated, fill each cupcake cup up about ¾ of the way.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched.

Allow to cool completely before frosting them!


frosting ingredients

Butter (room temperature)—12 oz, or 1 ½ C

Confectioner’s Sugar—18 oz, or 4 C

Vanilla—0.2 oz, or 1 tsp

Heavy Cream—2 oz, or 4 TBL



In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter until smooth.

Sift the confectioner’s sugar, and then slowly add to the butter.

Once both the butter and sugar are combined, add the vanilla.

Add the heavy cream 1 TBL at a time; this will allow you to adjust if needed.

When all of your ingredients are creamed together into smooth, beautiful frosting, you can put it on your cupcakes any way you would like! (Using an offset spatula, piping it on using a pretty tip, etc.)

Top with fresh strawberries!


Bon Appétit!